Opening statements begin in murder conspiracy trial

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Opening statements begin Tuesday in a murder conspiracy trial that involves a former Chicago police officer.

Steven Mandell is charged with plotting to kidnap a businessman, extort money from him, and then kill him. Prosecutors say he targeted a successful real estate agent, Steven Campbell. They claim Mandell planned to use a meat clever to chop up Campbell. They say Mandell built a torture chamber that had a sink to drain Campbell’s blood.

An alleged co-conspirator who turned into a federal informant apparently secretly recorded Mandell several times, and may take the witness stand as early as Tuesday.

Mandell is also accused of planning to murder another man so he could take over his target’s financial interests in a strip club that’s connected to the mob.

Prosecutors claim Mandell can be linked to at least eight murders.

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